Incessant rain across Karnataka has wreaked havoc for farmers. According to preliminary reports, 24 people have lost their lives, 191 livestock animals are dead, 5 lakh hectares of agricultural crops have been lost and 30,114 hectares of horticultural crops have been damaged.
Rains have caused extensive damage to Bengaluru Urban, Bengaluru Rural, Tumakuru, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Ramanagar, and Hassan districts.
VEGETABLE PRICES UP BY 40%
Due to the crop loss, prices of vegetables in Bengaluru have skyrocketed by almost 40%. The retail price of tomatoes has gone up to Rs 90-120. Other vegetables like brinjal, cabbage, and beans have also witnessed a significant rise in prices.
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Mohammed Parvez, a vegetable trader and secretary of the Russell Market Committee, said prices of many vegetables have shot up due to a lack of stocks coming to Bengaluru from nearby districts. He said, “Very little stock is coming to the city; just about 10%-20% of the usual. The price of tomatoes went up to Rs 150/kg. But soon stocks came in from Maharashtra and the price fell to Rs 100-110. Other vegetables like beans, carrot, radish have also become costly.”
CM Basavaraj Bommai has instructed officials to transfer the compensation amount for the heavy losses suffered due to the destruction caused by incessant rains to the affected farmers’ accounts immediately. The CM said, ‘Incessant rains have caused huge losses to standing crops in the state. A GPS-based survey of the destruction is on and the details are being uploaded to Relief App. Officials had been instructed to transfer the compensation amount to affected farmers’ accounts immediately after accessing the details.”
QUALITY, QUANTITY OF TOMATOES HIT BY RAIN
A large chunk of vegetables that Bengaluru gets comes from the Kolar district. The Kolar APMC receives tomatoes from five districts in south Karnataka, with the crop being cultivated over 10,000 acres in Kolar alone.
But the continuous rain has rendered the stocks arriving at the APMC substandard, in addition to the decline in quantity.
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Kolar APMC Chairman CM Manjunatha told India Today TV, “The situation is extremely critical. There is no crop for farmers. At least one month would be required for them to begin cultivation again. There is just a 10% tomato crop that can be harvested and we need to wait for three more months to get the next lot. Due to all these factors, we are unable to export to other states.”
Tomatoes from Kolar are not sent to Bengaluru but are exported to various states in north India. But with the damages suffered, farmers fear that the tomatoes will not last the long trips to the northern states.
SIDDARAMAIAH VISITS FARMERS
Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah visited farmers in the district to understand their issues. Everything grown here — from tomatoes to potatoes and ragi as well as horticulture crops — has been lost.
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Siddaramaiah said, “Farmers had spent nearly Rs 2 lakh per acre. Now, because of the rain, they have lost their crops. Likewise, for the ragi crop, they had spent Rs 50,000 per acre. But the entire crop is lost. Farmers are facing a lot of problems. They had invested money by taking loans. No farmer keeps money in their homes. They have to take loans from banks or societies and then spend on cultivation.”
TOMATOES ROTTING ON FIELDS
Tomatoes are grown on over 10,000 acres in the Kolar district, but a majority of the crop has been damaged due to incessant rains. India Today TV visited a few villages where tomatoes are grown and found them rotting. Farmers said they were trying to harvest what was available but that would not be enough to pay for even the amount used to buy pesticides.
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A farmer said, “We harvested tomatoes only once. The government says they will give compensation. But we don’t know when we shall get it.”
The problem is that the tomatoes that were ready to be harvested have gone bad due to the excess rain, while the tomatoes that are yet to ripen are rotting because the plants have spoilt.
RAGI CROPS LEVELLED TO THE GROUND
Out of the 5 lakh hectares damaged, ragi is grown on 2.76 lakh hectares or 55% of the total affected area. Ragi is also the staple food of poor households and for a majority of farmers in the southern part of Karnataka. Data shows that ragi was sown in 6.88 lakh hectares in the Kharif season and rain damaged 40% of that.
Owing to the damage, farmers are now urging the government to waive their loans. Reddy, a farmer, told India Today TV, “The government should pay us compensation of Rs 25,000 or waive the loans of farmers who lost their crops.”